Monthly Archives: August 2011

Climbing Up and Falling Down

I believe that kids and nature belong together, so I encourage my children to play daily outside, exploring their backyard and the natural elements in it.  I believe that tree climbing is one of childhood’s greatest joys.  I believe that happy kids require both freedom and boundaries.  I believe children’s environments should be as safe as necessary, rather than as safe as possible.  And I believe that falling down is a normal part of an active childhood. Continue reading

Fairy Fun

I spotted these popstick-girl-shapes in a craft store, and grabbed a packet immediately.  I just knew they would come in handy for… well, for something!  When Miss 5 was recently at home sick they provided wonderful entertainment.

I put out any sparkly collage materials I could find, as well as some fabric and PVA glue.  I also had a few leftover precut felt butterfly shapes which proved perfect for wings.  My daughter didn’t need any help (or any encouragement to get started)!  She busied herself for most of the day creating different families of fairies.  Water fairies, tree fairies, dirt fairies, vine fairies.  It was one big sparkly creative mess!!

The next day we were able to take the fairies outside into the garden.  The paddlepop sticks pushed easily into the ground, and also proved useful as handles for when the fairies wanted to flutter about.

It was wonderful to hear Miss 5 make up her own stories using the fairy families.  We were able to talk about what makes a good story, and the need for a “problem” to be resolved.  We even whipped out the iphone and recorded some of the stories.  They will be fun to look back on one day!

I’m so glad I kept my hands out of the making process, and let my daughter do it her way.  No end product to copy.  No “do it like this” moments.  No adult interference.  And I think her fairies are rather beautiful.  Don’t you?

Backyard Letterbox

I have long had the idea of putting an actual letterbox in the backyard for the kids to use.  FINALLY I got around to it.

Letter writing is such a great, purposeful literacy activity.  It provides a reason to write, and an incentive to write well because you want the recipient to be able to read their letter when they receive it!

I picked up this letterbox from our local (big green) hardware store for around $12.  It’s nothing fancy, but it does the job perfectly and we don’t need to worry about it being able to withstand the conditions outside.  We simply screwed it to a low, existing sleeper wall beside the dirt kitchen.

It has already been more than worth the money!  The kids have written so many letters to each other, to Mummy and Daddy, and to friends who have come over to play.  Writing them is fun, reading them is fun, checking the mailbox is fun, and delivering the mail is fun. Of course, everyone participates at their own level.  Miss 5 has been doing some great early writing, using her sound-letter knowledge to have-a-go at writing independently.  She has also worked hard to decode the simple letters I have posted to her.  Mr 2 has enjoyed being the mailman, and posted some excellent scribbles to his sister!

If you are looking for an inexpensive, non-permanent, interactive addition for your backyard or playspace… try a letterbox!  It provides a lovely way for siblings or parent-child to communicate, promotes early reading and writing, and gets kids outside. Ticks all my boxes :-)

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